On the 10th December 2020, Sports Federations and Associations of Uganda made history by morphing into a united group called the Union of Uganda Sports Federations and Associations (UUSFA).
This marked the very first time that Ugandan Sports Federation leaders decided to come together for a united cause in developing Ugandan sports. With UUSFA, each federation will no longer have to lobby on its own for resources unlike in the past when all the sports federations with the exception of FUFA, were financially eak .
The weakness of all other 51 federations can be vividly seen from the lack of sponsorship deals for most. For instance whereas FUFA can pull up to 10 billion shillings from Airtel and another 10 billion from Startimes TV, no other Federation can even attract 10% of this amount of funding from any potential sponsor.
Not even the other seemingly financially well-off federations like Athletics, Netball, Boxing, Basketball and Rugby can attract this kind of funding. Surprisingly even the mother body, National Council of Sports (NCS) with an entire marketing department cannot attract this kind of funding which highlights the importance of a united effort.
UUSFA Interim Secretary General and President of the Uganda Table Tennis Association (UTTA) president Robert Jjagwe asserts that the Federations needed a united front to gain advantage.
“The Sports federations therefore correctly need a united front that gives them some advantages that are vital to sponsors, most especially bigger numbers. When a sponsor knows that their product can be marketed by 50 federations working together, then they will be more easily attracted to sponsorship proposals from such a united group,” Jjagwe said.
He added, “the group also gives the sponsor bigger numbers of both potential buyers and brand ambassadors for their products. One of the key areas of focus for UUSFA will therefore be the joint promotional agreements with potential sponsors. There may be no company willing to say no to a group of federations that have agreed to, for instance, give it exclusive rights to sale its products at all federation events for an entire year.”
For a long time, many people have blamed Federation leaders for continuing to only complain about what they lack instead of engaging practical steps to get more resources. Many federations have usually put the blame on other organisations, especially the NCS for failure to avail much needed resources. However this time, the Federations decided to try resolving their deficiencies through a structural reconstruction. This has prompted UUSFA to adopt the slogan; “Speaking for Ourselves by Ourselves.”
Jjagwe further argued that there has been a tendency for the federations to sit back and let others speak and handle their business for them.
“A very good example is NCS that has lobbied unsuccessfully for about 3 years now for the sports budget to be increased to 197 billion Ugx. The problem is that NCS is lobbying from the ministry of finance which is made of what can best be described as bosses (or employers) of NCS officials. There is a limit as to how much pressure and insistence any employee can put on their employer; unless of course they have decided that they can as well lose their job and they no longer care. Anything other than this and such an employee will always coil and walk away whenever they are told that there is no money to effect the increment they are asking for,” he observed.
The Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) has a totally different mandate in Uganda majorly centered around the international competitions such as the Olympic Games, commonwealth games, All Africa Games, etc. The UOC therefore has very limited or nearly no capacity (statutorily) to push government to increase the sports budget allocation.
This leaves the NCS together with the sports ministry (MOES) sharing the same limitations as both are government employees and cannot relentlessly insist on any push for a sports budget increment.
In comes UUSFA, a body made up of politically elected or appointed individuals who are expected to oversee the development of their sports federations.
“When I was on radio last week I used a rather inaccurate but clear analogy. I said..if NCS officials walked into Salim Saleh’s office, they cannot kick any tables but for us we can kick. Well, of course we are too disciplined to kick tables but the whole point was that as sports leaders we can push beyond the limits that NCS cannot,” the Interim Secretary General further noted.
“In such a situation, only the best lobbyists can move government to award them more funding. To be honest and sincere, thus far, sport has not packaged its importance to the nation very well. Up to now the country looks at sports mainly as a leisure, fun and purely recreational activity. The other benefits such as employment, health, unity and reduction in crime are still majorly unappreciated contributions,” he concluded.
The interim board will soon embark on agreement on a series of activities that they need to undertake to achieve their main objective for which UUSFA was formed and the ability to rise above the limitations of NCS and MOES officials which makes for a “magic bullet”.
ChimpReports has further learnt that UUSFA has already written to all the other 3 mother bodies seeking meetings so that all efforts can be harmonized.